The plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue running lengthwise along the bottom of the foot connecting the heel to the toes. It normally functions as a sort of shock-absorbing bowstring that supports the arch of the foot. If tension on this string becomes excessive, it can cause small tears within the fascia. Repeated stretching and/or tearing can result in the fascia becoming irritated and/or inflamed, a condition referred to as plantar fasciitis. This is one of the most prevalent foot conditions that results in heel pain.
The pain associated with it is typically described as "stabbing." It usually starts when a sufferer initially puts his/her feet on the floor when getting up in the morning. After the foot limbers up, the pain often decreases. However, it can come back after prolonged periods of standing and/or walking again after sitting down for awhile.
There are a number of factors that can increase the likelihood of developing plantar fasciitis that include:
- Age: Plantar fasciitis is more prevalent in individuals who are between the ages of 40 to 60 years.
- Sex: Females tend to develop plantar fasciitis more frequently than males do.
- Certain Sports, Exercise and/or Leisure Activities: Activities that put undue amounts of stress on the heels and attached connective tissues (e.g. long distance running/walking, ballet, dance aerobics, etc.) can lead to the onset of plantar fasciitis.
- Improper Training: Walking or running for prolonged distances without being properly conditioned or trained.
- Certain Surfaces: Athletes who suddenly change their running and/or walking surfaces (e.g. go from softer grass to hard surfaces) can irritate/inflame the plantar fascia.
- Abnormal Foot Mechanics: Possessing flat feet or high arches can negatively affect a person's weight distribution when standing, putting additional stress and strain on the plantar fascia. Pronation, a faulty walking pattern where the foot twists or rolls inward, can also contribute to the development of plantar fasciitis.
- Obesity: Individuals who are overweight are susceptible to this foot condition. Extra pounds put added stress on the plantar fascia.
- Pregnancy: Additional weight, gained during pregnancy, can put strain on the feet.
- Certain Occupations: There are a number of jobs that predispose individuals to plantar fasciitis. This includes any occupation in which a person spends the majority of his/her working hours standing and or walking on hard surfaces. Factory workers, cashiers, restaurant workers, medical personnel, teachers, members of the military, etc. fall into this category.
- Improper Shoes: People who routinely wear loose, thin-soled shoes, shoes with insufficient arch support and insufficient padding to absorb shock can easily develop irritated/inflamed plantar fascia. Women who wear high-heeled shoes on a regular basis can shorten their Achilles tendons, causing unnecessary strain on heel tissues. To help make shoes more supportive, insoles from manufacturers like Lynco and Superfeet can aid in providing your feet with the arch support you need.
- Tight Achilles Tendons: Individuals with tight Achilles tendons and/or tight calf muscles can be susceptible to plantar fasciitis. These tendons attach the calf muscles to the heel bones.
Talk to your doctor or podiatrist if you are experiencing any of the symptoms, and check out our Plantar Fasciitis products today.